Sonora. Mexico. Call out for solidarity with Indigenous Yaqui political prisoner Fidencio Aldama Pérez
Originally published by Its Going Down.
To the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council
To the Communities that Defend Water, Territory and Life
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion
To the National and International Sixth
To the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity
We direct ourselves to those who struggle to destroy this system, not to enter into negotiations with its representatives, nor to ask for a hearing with some official. We know that the mouth of the government is full of lies. From those above, we can only expect contempt, deceit and betrayal. We have nothing to ask from those who have taken everything from us. Our struggle is against them.
We direct ourselves to you all because we know that you will hear our words. We know that in your company, we will find support that can only be given by those who struggle. We know that you will be able to take up the causes for which the dignified people and the Yaqui nation fight: for water and land, against megaprojects, for the life and freedom of Fidencio Aldama Pérez.
In April 2016, the Yaqui people of Loma de Bácum filed a legal appeal against the construction of a natural gas pipeline that would cross 90 kilometers of the region in its Guaymas-Oro section. Since then, the threats against inhabitants have intensified and the problem continues without resolution.
The project has sought to construct 835 kilometers of pipeline for the state of Sonora and Sinaloa, in order to bring natural gas from Arizona to the states in the West of the country. However, construction of the second section was stopped due to the refusal of the inhabitants to allow their territory to be affected by a project that wouldn’t bring one benefit. Rather the project would affect their ways of life with a false “consultation” and in violation of the principles established by Convention 169 of the ILO. Seven of the eight towns that make up the Yaqui nation have given “their consent.” However, it was demonstrated that the opinion of all inhabitants had not been taken into consideration, nor had they been informed truthfully, clearly and sufficiently about the characteristics of the project. Thus, in spite of the consent of seven of the eight towns that make up the Yaqui tribe in the area, the construction was stopped.
The energy company, IENOVA, was in charge of the construction, and had begun the work in 2013. But the project was suspended in 2016, after inhabitants of Loma de Bácum obtained a ruling in their favor from the Seventh District Court in Ciudad Obregón. With that, an escalation of threats against the inhabitants began, seeking to force them to give up the defense of their territory.
Amidst threats, a campaign of slander began against those who oppose the gas pipeline. Gifts were given to “leaders” of those who had “accepted” the construction of the pipeline. Between April and October 2016, several acts of violence were carried out against the community: a mother of one of the compañeras was shot at and one of her cousins was killed. The threats continued. Neither the company, nor the government, would stop at anything to remove the last obstacle stopping the pipeline from being built.
And on October 21st, 2016, armed people brought from other towns entered Loma de Bácum and attacked the assembly. They tried to pass this off as a “confrontation between communities,” between those who are in favor and those who are against the gas pipeline, those “in favor or against progress.” In interviews, some of the people brought to Loma de Bácum that day made their reasons known: the state and federal governments threatened to suspend all social programs directed towards them.
In addition, the Yaqui tribe has ancestral customs to resolve their differences. In the law, consecrated in the constitution SINCE 1917, the Yaquis have a government named by the community. They elect their traditional authorities, name their guardians and establish the sanctions for those who violate community rules. Each and every one of their important decisions is made after a long process of internal consultation and only when all of the communities are in agreement are things decided. In other words, the gas pipeline would not advance even if only one of the communities remained against it.
The aggression against Loma de Bácum resulted in the death of one person, victim of a 22-caliber bullet.
Six days later, on October 27, the state police kidnapped, Fidencio Aldama Pérez, traditional guardian of Loma de Bácum. He was accused without witnesses and without proof of his participation in the act. The weapon that he was LEGALLY carrying, a 45-caliber, isn’t even able to shoot a 22-caliber bullet.
The trial against the compañero Fidencio Aldama Pérez has been plagued with irregularities. Nobody has pointed him out as the one who committed the crime. There aren’t even witnesses who say that he shot his gun. There is no expert evidence to show that there exists a possible trajectory between the place where the traditional guard was and the dead man. Evidence? None.
According to the law, it is the authorities that must prove the guilt of the accused and not the accused who must prove their innocence. But the crooked laws, venial authorities, corrupt judges and politicians who are at the service of those above, are the ones who keep our compañero behind bars.
It is not a question of imparting justice. On more than one occasion they have insinuated, in short, that if Loma de Bácum desists from its appeal against the pipeline, the kidnapped man, who has already been recognized by the federal government as a political prisoner, that is, a hostage of the state, would be released. But there is a problem with that “generous offer.” The community of Loma de Bácum, time and again, has said no to the gas pipeline. They have expressed their rejection in the face of the governor and in the face of AMLO. Rights are not negotiated. Land must be defended.
The aggressions carried out against the community of Loma de Bácum have not stopped. It is a matter of overcoming the community resistance through the use of fear. On December 14, an armed commando kidnapped two opponents of the gas pipeline.
Compañerxs: we know that it will not be by legal resolution that Fidencio recuperates his freedom because he is not a prisoner in compliance with the law, nor has he committed a crime. Fidencio remains kidnapped, illegally and illegitimately, so no lawyer will be able to prove his innocence. The state knows that Fidencio is innocent.
We call on those who struggle for life to name Fidencio in each act, in each document, in each action that is carried out in defense of land, water and life, against the bad government and its megaprojects that only represent death for our people.
We call for a TOTAL campaign until his freedom is achieved. That in all resistance and rebellion, the name of Fidencio is heard and echoed. It will be the struggle from below and to the left that will achieve his freedom.
From the sacred Yaqui territories and other geographies in solidarity, we demand: Freedom for the traditional guardian of Loma de Bácum, Fidencio Aldama Pérez!!
October 21st, 2020
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